Among the many confessions that I plan to make in due course through this diary of mine, here is one: I have too many flaws in my person than I care to count. Way too many. But the chief and most debilitating among them is a sense of guilt and – for want of a better word – obliged-ness that I have been unable to shed, how much ever I try. I take concepts like personal responsibility and gratitude to a whole new level. It’s like I hold up these boards for all and sundry to see. One says, “MY FAULT – I’M SORRY!” (whether it is or not), and the other reads, “THANK YOU SOOOO VERY MUCH – I OWE YOU!” (whether I do or not). And any intelligent life form will read the signs and act on them, sooner or later.
Oh, as with everything else, I have done more than my fair share of analyzing and come up with valid reasons for these defects – I don’t even want to go there, please – but they don’t help. The ‘why-s’, come to think of it, have never really been the problem. They’re just there to help you through those times when you choose to wallow in self-pity. Oh, I’m like this because… The problem lies in the fact that, despite all good intentions, I allow these flaws to dictate my life more often than not. And for that, there is no justification.
Which is why it’s such a miracle that I have around me some truly beautiful human beings – good people who ignore those glaring boards and walk the distance to meet me half-way. My little family, my small circle of friends, quite a few of my acquaintances…they keep reassuring me that everything that goes wrong in this world is not solely my fault; that these are things people do for each other anyway, so I need not feel so obliged; that it’s ok to forgive myself…
However, every so often, I slip up. I allow my flaws to guide my way and let people into my life who play mind games; though I recognize the danger signals and pull back, the damage would have already been done. Like recently, when a ‘friend’ – well, I don’t want to go there, either, so let’s leave it at that. What I’m trying to say is that there are enough people in the world who are only too willing to cash in on others’ sense of guilt and misplaced gratitude, so beware – if, God forbid, you’re like me.
Sometime in the past few months, I reached this decision – that I’ll consciously work against my inherent flaws. That I’ll walk only with people who meet me half way. That forty-four years is a long enough time to have paid back all those childhood debts that I did not incur. That I will not allow myself to be dictated by obsolete habits anymore.
I decided to fight four decades of conditioning with all my might.
Another confession here. Deciding was dead easy – but executing has not been. If, God forbid, you’re like me, then know this: your health will be badly affected, you’ll feel even more guilty and miserable than ever before, you’ll find yourself on the defensive at all times – to list but a few of the withdrawal symptoms. But I’m NOT going to give up. I’m going to hang in there with all my might. Till I come out happy and whole.
I think I owe it to myself.